- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Go slow on nuclear power

The United States should not follow France in encouraging the resuscitation of nuclear power (“France takes lead in nuclearfuture,” Briefing/Global Issues, World, Monday).

After more than 50 years and more than $100 billion spent in the United States on nuclear power, it remains an uneconomical and polluting energy source. Even with the $13 billion in subsidies and tax breaks in last year’s Energy Policy Act, the credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s recently reported that it is doubtful whether these subsidies will prevent the credit rating of a utility that commits to building a new reactor from being downgraded.

No country in the world has solved the question of what to do with the spent fuel, which remains dangerous for hundreds of thousands of years.

Cheaper and cleaner energy alternatives exist and are the real solution to dependence on fossil fuels. These are the choices environmental groups support.


Legislative director

Public Citizen’s Critical Mass Energy Program


Safeguarding U.S. seaports

We should always heed the common sense warning to refrain from spending all of our time fighting the last war. While it is important to drastically upgrade our aviation security program in the wake of 9/11, that is not enough. Our enemy is smart enough to look for other targets, and we must be smart enough to anticipate those targets — not merely respond. To defend against terrorist attacks and protect American lives, it is essential that we act now to harden our most vulnerable targets, which currently include America’s 361 seaports.

More than 95 percent of U.S. foreign trade comes through these critical trade hubs, totaling more than $1 trillion annually. A study conducted by the Brookings Institution found that a terrorist attack at a major U.S. port would cause $60 billion in economic damages, and an attack involving the use of nuclear weapons could result in dramatic loss of life and more than $1 trillion in economic costs. It is easy to see how a major attack on a U.S. port would devastate our economy immediately — a publicly stated goal of al Qaeda.

That’s why the Security and Accountability For Every (SAFE) Port Act mandates a strategy to quickly resume trade in the event of an attack. The bill also creates a dedicated risked-based,multiyear-funding stream for port-security projects something which security experts and port operators tell us they desperately need. It further requires DHS to screen all port employees with access to secure areas against federal terrorist watch lists, — something that TSA is already using at our airports. To ensure American shores are our last line of defense, not our first, the bill will also authorize the Container Security Initiative — a program used to identify and examine maritime containers at foreign ports before they are shipped.

SAFE Port also creates the position of Director of Cargo Security Policy within the Department of Homeland Security to directly address what the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has identified as dangerous gaps in our port security framework caused by ineffective communication and coordination among the agencies responsible for port security, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Coast Guard, and the Transportation Security Administration.

The SAFE Port Act reflects an effort to enact comprehensive legislation that addresses real threats to our national port security. It is neither a reaction to the Dubai controversy nor, as some have suggested in this space, a bureaucratic reshuffling or resources (“Rushed ports proposals,” Editorial, Monday).

If there is any silver lining in the recent Dubai controversy, it is that Congress is now focused on the issue of port security. The SAFE Port bill marks the end of a lack of urgency in the Congress. It is not legislation introduced to make a statement. It is legislation introduced to make a law that will make American seaports more secure and Americans safer.


Chair, Economic Security, Infrastructure Protection and Cyber-security Subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee


To Lyn Nofziger

I read with sadness the news reports yesterday of the passing of Lyn Nofziger. Mr. Nofziger’s contribution to American politics is immeasurable. I was a bright-eyed Democrat who sat directly across from his office in my first job out of college, and his contribution to my professionalism and knowledge of Beltway politics is just as vast. Mr. Nofziger taught me that while partisan politics often stifle impending legislation, there’s always room for laughter between a Democrat and a Republican.

When I left that position, Mr. Nofziger gave me a signed copy of his autobiography. In his memory, I would like to take a little liberty with his inscription.

“To Lyn Nofziger, who made life brighter and more cheerful when he was around. And therefore is forgiven for being a Republican.”



Today I mourn the loss of Lyn Nofziger, whom I have never met face to face, but who became a friend in the past two years because of our mutual addiction to political limericks. I applaud his courage and humor. Aware that I was editing a book, “Liberating the Limerick,” he sent me a collection of his unpublished limericks in September 2004 and said I was free to publish any of them, adding, “Credit is not necessary.”

Of his some 150 verses — mostly tied to current events — I selected four for my published collection. Here is one by Mr. Nofziger in the section on “Padres and Preachers”:

A Boston Cardinal named Law

Had an unforgivable flaw.

He greeted pedophiles

With winks and with smiles.

Instead of a sock on the jaw.

May his soul rest in peace.


Chevy Chase

Muslims and the West

Thanks to the Times for publishing the column “Elections and complexities” by Turkish writer Tulin Daloglu (Op-Ed, Tuesday). It is a powerful column that should be read far and wide. The key point, that “no Arab Muslim state is industrially or technologically on par with the West or Israel,” seems to sum up why there is so much hatred for the West in the Arab world.

Miss Daloglu quotes from the United Nations Development Programme’s second Arab Human Development Report, from 2003, which clearly identified reasons for the sorrowful plight of the Muslim Arab world. In effect, she derides Muslim Arabs for blaming the West and Israel in particular for their shortcomings instead of looking inwardly.

Miss Daloglu’s analysis is consistent with statements of Arab American psychologist Wafa Sultan, interviewed recently on al-Jazeera, who said: “The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions, or a clash of civilizations. It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality”.

It is unfortunate that insights such as these receive so little attention in the general news media. It is even more unfortunate that American Arab Muslim organizations with ties to both worlds fail to acknowledge these truisms and take a leading role in modernizing a mentality and culture that if left on its own will lead to a more dangerous world for mankind.



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